HAPPY HUNDREDTH! Birthday celebration for West Seattle’s newest centenarian Ruth DeGabriele

(WSB photos)

Ruth DeGabriele had a big reason for that big smile this afternoon: She’s celebrating her 100th birthday.

As has become custom in this pandemic spring, her celebration was outdoors – decorations outside her North Admiral home, friends driving and walking by for greetings at a healthy distance:

Ruth has had quite a life:

Her daughter Michele DeGabriele shared Ruth’s story:

She has been a West Seattle resident since 1942!

My mom was born in Beattie, Kansas. Her parents lost their farm in the Dust Bowl and the family traveled out west in 1937 in the “truck house” – a truck her father converted to a mobile home for them to travel in.

She was the first woman bellhop in the Pacific Northwest (the Washington Hotel in Portland, Oregon):

She met my father, who was an identical twin, when she lived in the apartment above the twins’ grocery store ‘Ray and Al’s Fine Foods,’ on the corner of California Ave and SW Walker St.

They married in 1950 and started their family in 1951, having four children within five years. All 4 of us children are WSHS alums!

She is still living in the same house they bought in 1950 and is a pillar of the neighborhood. Their house on the 1900 block of 41st Street was a voting precinct for about 60 years … until mail-in ballots in Washington were instated.

She has survived all her siblings, most of her friends, and one granddaughter.

As you might imagine, a bigger party was planned, with many family members traveling to be part of it, but COVID-19 canceled that. Happy hundredth, Ruth!

23 Replies to "HAPPY HUNDREDTH! Birthday celebration for West Seattle's newest centenarian Ruth DeGabriele"

  • Graciano June 13, 2020 (6:16 pm)

    Happy Birthday Ruth.

  • DD June 13, 2020 (6:24 pm)

    What a lovely, heartwarming story and very best wishes to Ruth on this special birthday!   So glad family and friends could celebrate this special woman in a beautiful, creative way.

  • BJG June 13, 2020 (6:30 pm)

    What a great life story, Ruth! We are grateful to share West Seattle with you. I hope our paths cross when the days ahead open up. Meantime happy happy 100th Birthday!

  • KM June 13, 2020 (6:48 pm)

    What an incredible life she has had, I so enjoyed reading this and seeing the photos.  I hope she has a GRAND birthday!

  • David wall June 13, 2020 (6:56 pm)

    That’s really amazing. Congratulations… May you have many more. Happy birthday.

  • C.A. June 13, 2020 (7:00 pm)

    What a wonderful celebration (under the circumstances) for a remarkable lady. Happiest of birthdays to you, Ruth! 🥳

  • D June 13, 2020 (7:02 pm)

    Happy Birthday!

  • Joan June 13, 2020 (7:17 pm)

    What a wonderful life and sweet story. She looks fantastic for 100! We are fortunate to have her in our community.

  • Lin June 13, 2020 (7:25 pm)

    Incredible! Happy 100th Ruth :)

  • Alex June 13, 2020 (7:41 pm)

    I hope I look as good as Ruth at 100!  Happy Birthday and thank you neighbors for honoring Ruth.

  • MJo June 13, 2020 (8:11 pm)

    Happy Birthday, Ruth! I really enjoyed seeing these photos and reading about your life. I hope you had a wonderful birthday!

  • Mimi June 13, 2020 (8:25 pm)

    Happy birthday Ruth! You look beautiful and it seems like it was a fun day! Many more! 

  • miws June 13, 2020 (8:34 pm)

    Happy Hundredth, Ruth! —Mike

  • M.S. June 13, 2020 (8:42 pm)

    Thanks for sharing Ruth with us I so ENJOYED the love you all showed her!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY RUTH !!!

  • jed June 13, 2020 (9:00 pm)

    A winning smile throughout – wow

  • Kathy Mulady June 13, 2020 (9:03 pm)

    Happy Birthday, Ruth! Your smile is beautiful – then and now.  I hope your day brought you great joy.

  • AlkiGirl June 13, 2020 (9:29 pm)

    Isn’t Ruth just a sweetheart ❤️❤️ Happiest of birthdays to you!! 

  • SL June 13, 2020 (10:30 pm)

    Happy Birthday to you Ruth! 🎊🎊🎊

  • West Seattle since 1979 June 14, 2020 (1:32 am)

    Happy Birthday, Ruth!

  • PR June 14, 2020 (6:45 am)

    Wonderful story. Happy Birthday, Ruth! Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

  • Gary Temple June 14, 2020 (10:53 am)

    Happy Birthday, Ruth! So nice to see the story of your bell hopping at the Washington Hotel. My father, Flavel Temple, used to recall  with great pride how you were a real trail blazer in the hotel business. Of course, he didn’t mind that it also attracted more customers! All best wishes,Gary Temple

  • Amazed June 14, 2020 (7:02 pm)

    Happy birthday!   What an amazing life!   Enduring the Dust Bowl, traveling across the country like the Jodes and making the best of an unfortunate situation really puts today’s struggles in perspective.  How fortunate everyone who knows her must be!   

    • Amazed June 14, 2020 (7:07 pm)

      Er, Joads

Sorry, comment time is over.